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Trump says general population could have vaccine by April

President Donald Trump delivers an update on Operation Warp Speed on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Friday. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI
President Donald Trump delivers an update on Operation Warp Speed on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Friday. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 13 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Friday hailed the success of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine trials and suggested the general population could have access to it by April.

He gave an update from the White House's Rose Garden on his administration's Operation Warp Speed to quickly find a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. It was the first time Trump has spoken publicly since Joe Biden won the presidential election.

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Trump said an emergency use authorization for the vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration could come "extremely soon."

"Right away, millions of doses will soon be going out the door," he said. "As soon as April, the vaccine will be available to the entire general population -- with the exception of places like New York state."

Trump's targeting of New York comes in retaliation to comments Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made casting doubt about the efficacy of a rushed vaccine under the Trump administration.

"We can't let this vaccination plan go forward the way that Trump and his administration is designing it," Cuomo said earlier this week.

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He said he plans to put together a panel of scientists and experts to review the trial data from the various vaccines under development.

"He doesn't trust where the vaccine's coming from," Trump said Friday. "These are coming from the greatest companies anywhere in the world, the greatest labs in the world, but he doesn't trust the fact that it's this White House, this administration.

"So we won't be delivering it to New York until we have authorization to do so. That pains me to say that. ... So the governor, Gov. Cuomo, will have to let us know when he's ready for it."

Drugmaker Pfizer and its partner BioNTech announced Monday that tests of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate showed its first scientific evidence that it can block the virus in about 90% of humans.

Trump credited his administration's Operation Warp Speed for the success of the Pfizer trial, but the company didn't accept government funding for the development and testing of the vaccine candidate.

The company did sign an agreement with the administration, though, in which the government will purchase 100 million doses for $1.95 billion if the FDA authorizes it.

Trump still did not concede the presidential election to Biden during Friday's remarks, saying instead that "time will tell."

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